By: Ayatullah al-Uzma Shaykh Nasir Makarim Shirazi & Ayatullah Ja’far Subhani
Question: In the lessons of the history of religions we read as follows:

What is the forbidden fruit?

As the Old Testament writes in detail and the Holy Qur’an says in suggestive way. (Forbidden fruit) is insight because on the basis of Qur’anic verses the Almighty used to call Adam and Eve and without feeling any kind of shame for their nakedness they used to reply. But after eating the forbidden fruit they began to feel ashamed of their nakedness and hid themselves.

In the past they used to see the Lord without any kind of shame. Now after eating the forbidden fruit they are feeling ashamed of their nakedness. The proof is that the condition in which they were till yesterday (nakedness), they were not able to see it and now by eating the forbidden fruit they have received insight and the forbidden tree is the tree of insight.

What did the Almighty desire?

Should man eat the forbidden fruit or not?

We should not view this problem like human stories. That the Almighty did not want that Adam should eat the forbidden fruit. Because if it had been unacceptable to Allah He would not have allowed Adam (a.s.) to eat the fruit. (Because the intention of man has no value before the intention of Allah and only that comes to pass which the Almighty desires).

Thus the Almighty Allah desired that man should eat this fruit. Because he could not had come into existence without eating this fruit. And it is such a plan that was arranged for by the Almighty Himself. So that man can come into existence and the man who is present now and who with the passing of times will continue to come.

1. As mentioned in the above-mentioned discussion does the forbidden fruit only constitute knowledge and insight?

Answer: We have been asked many questions regarding the points mentioned in those lessons. The above-mentioned is an example of the same. For a satisfactory reply it is necessary for us to mention a few points.

1. As we have mentioned before one clear proof of the interpolation of the present Bible is that in the story of the Creation of Adam it states unequivocally that the forbidden tree was the tree of knowledge and insight or the tree of good and evil on realization explanatory or recognition. (In all the translations of the Bible, give only one meaning.

Thus according to clean words of the Bible the first and the greatest sin of man was the sin of knowledge and insight. And probably it is the reason that the church leaders in the middle used to battle against the intellectuals, scientists and writers of their time and they used to dread the spread of this sin. They used to believe that on the first day Adam (a.s.) was ignorant that he was not ashamed of his nakedness but when he ate of the forbidden fruit (knowledge and intellect) or became rational being, he became a sinner and he was expelled from Paradise and the proximity of the Lord.

Without any doubt these concocted stories of the historical age. On the contrary the Holy Qur’an says that before setting in Paradise, Adam (a.s.) possessed a vast knowledge and intellect and was to a great extent needless of the tree of knowledge and insight. So much so that he had become the teacher and instructor of the angels.

‘We taught Adam all the names'[89]

Therefore this Adam is absolutely different from the Adam who is described by the Bible. The greatest source of this power of Adam (a.s.) is knowledge and insight. And the greatest sin of that Adam is knowledge. This Adam is Adam in the proper sense and that Adam is ignorant from all aspects. This Adam was created for realization and that Adam is commanded that he should not let knowledge and insight enter his mind. In such circumstances it is really a strange thing that the logic of the Qur’an and the altered Bible should be considered at par.

2. According to Taurat Adam and Hawwa were nude and they did not feel any shame of their nudity. It is right but where does Qur’an say that both of them were naked and were not ashamed of their nakedness? Rather, on the contrary the Holy Qur’an clarifies that they had clothes on their bodies even before eating the forbidden fruit and this dress fell away from their bodies after eating the forbidden fruit and they became naked.

…he (Shaitan) expelled your parents from the garden, pulling off from them both their clothing that he might show them their evil inclinations…”[90]

It is also said that: …the Shaitan made an evil suggestion to them that he might make manifest to them what had been hidden from them of their inclinations….[91]

On the basis of this in the 22nd verse of the same Surah it says: …their evil inclinations became manifest to them, and they both began to cover themselves with the leaves of the garden…”[92]

This is also in the meaning of the loss of their clothes. It does not mean that they were naked and were not aware of it.

Thus when Qur’an introduced Adam it says that he was a dressed and respectable person who became naked due to disobedience. (This point is worth noting).

On the contrary the Adam introduced by the Bible was naked from the beginning like animals. So much so that he was not even ashamed of his nakedness. In spite of this clarification of the Holy Qur’an is it proper that such a thing should be associated with and it should be brought on par with Taurat?

3. The most interesting thing is to interpret “Don’t eat” to mean “You should eat.” Can there be greater fraud in logic? That negative should be taken as position and evil should be considered good? If the fruit was for eating, why was it named the prohibited tree?

What is this method of interpretation and explanation of meaning? If this method is correct it would be better to judge in the same all the things that are prohibited in the Qur’an and it should be said that the Almighty had desired thus that this prohibited should be acted upon. And if He had not desired thus He would have prevented the people from acting upon it. We are helpless regarding our actions?

The Almighty described that we should remain free. He gave free will to men and left them on their own but side-by-side he has formulated many rules and regulations for his training.

Thus this comparison is absolutely incorrect that if Allah did not desire that Adam (a.s.) should eat the prohibited fruit He would have stopped him. Because in the same way this comparison will come true for the sinners. Actually here there is a misunderstanding regarding freewill and compulsion. (Please note).

Respected readers! Whatever has been stated above, in your view is it not better that before expression such an opinion in the form of a lesson it should be shown to the experts of Islamic problems and published later so that such kinds of misunderstandings are not created.

Please ponder upon it. If a person reads this book and concluded that this tree was the tree of knowledge and wisdom and Adam and Hawwa were naked the animals and they were not knowing this and after eating the prohibited fruit of the tree of knowledge they came to know and they hid from the sight of Allah and later as the punishment acquiring knowledge of wisdom they were expelled from there, then who would be responsible for this belief of his?

The facts learnt from the sources of guidance is that the prohibited tree “tree of jealously and a kind of adversion.” Or there was something similar to this and Adam was involved in this. (Although it was not the jealously that could tantamount to jealously or due to it, the hands should be smeared with sins): This statement could be explained in the way that Hazrat Adam (a.s.) was informed of the condition of his descendants and he saw among them such exalted prophets who were having higher grades than him.

On this juncture he desired that the position of these personalities would have been achieved by himself even though in spite of his merits he had not reached to that position. This same desired distanced him from, the Paradise and that was his tree of prohibition. Though in some traditions wheat is mentioned as the prohibited tree whose prohibition had an aspect of trial.


[89] Surah Baqarah 2:31

[90] Surah Aaraf 7:27

[91] Surah Aaraf 7:20

[92] Surah Aaraf 7:22

Why Is There No ‘Bismillah’ In The Beginning of ‘Surah Baraat’?

Question: Why is there no ‘Bismillah’ in the beginning of ‘Surah Baraat’? and Why we see Bismillah in the middle of Surah Naml?

Answer: Because Surah Baraat as is apparent from the following, is for the warning of polytheists and the breaker of covenant and its aim was to warn those people who were trying to destroy the light of the belief in Oneness of Allah, moral and social reformation in the Arabian Gulf thus it was not suitable that its beginning should be with Bismillah because this sentence is the sign of mercy, peace and friendship.

As far as the mention in the middle of Surah Naml is concerned it is the beginning of the letter that Sulaiman (a.s.) had written to the Queen of Saba. And since the full text of this letter is quoted in the Qur’an, the Bismillah is also mentioned because this letter began with this sentence.

Are There More Than One Creator?

Question: In the 14th ayat of Surah Mominoon the Almighty Allah says: So blessed be Allah, the best of the Creators. When the Almighty Allah calls Himself the “best of Creators” does it mean that there exist other Creators also?

Answer: From the aspect of Arabic language the root Khalq (creation) occurs I three meanings:

1. To evaluate or estimate something.

2. To transform a thing into something else. For example to make tools from iron.

3. To bring something from non-existence into existence. That is to bestow existence something that did not exist before.

Without any doubt the third meaning is special to the Almighty Allah and the words of Creator and inventor. Apart from Him these terms are not used to anyone else. So much so that the first and the second are applicable even to human beings. In the ayats of the Holy Qur’an the root Khalq is used in the first or the second meaning. For example it is mentioned regarding Isa ibn Maryam (a.s.): “And when you determined out of clay a thing like the form of a bird by My permission.”

Here it denotes changing one thing into another.

The ayat in question has also used in the second meaning or the first and since in those meanings there can be many creators it is correct to state that He is the best of Creators.

Why is Charity Compared To An Ear Having 700 Grains?

Question: It is mentioned in Surah Baqarah: “The parable of those who spend their property in the way of Allah is as the parable of a grain growing seven ears (with) hundred grains in every ear…”

In spite of the fact that we have inquired of the agricultural scientists that if we have a piece of land which is prepared from every aspect. It is irrigated properly and birds also do not pick up its grain and the seed is also not destroyed in it and no trouble descends on it and the soil is also of a good quality and all the conditions of growing a crop on it is fulfilled then how much wheat can be produced from a stalk of wheat?

They replied: thirty or at the most forty and nothing more than this seen till now.

Thus how does the Almighty say that it is like the ear which gives 700 grains whereas if Allah had desired He could have given more.

Answer: Two points have to be kept in mind in the reply to this question.

Firstly the above quoted ayat does not mention wheat or any other grain, rather the word Habb – grain is used. And that the one posing the question has given the examples of wheat, which is such a derivation that is not even mentioned in the Holy Qur’an. Thus if we find a grain whose one grain gives seven hundred grains it would be sufficient to justify the above ayat.

If by chance there are some seeds, one of which is Maize if it is planted at fixed place it is possible that one grain would produce seven grains (7 ears of hundred grain’s each, i.e. or more could be obtained.)

It is said that Bajra also produces many grains.[93]

Secondly even if for the sake of argument we consider the above ayat there is another possibility and it is that when two things are compared to each other. There is a distinction of the compared thing which is not in the thing with which it is compared though from the aspect of the actual topic of discussion there is similarity in it.

For example it is said:(His face is like the moon which does not set) or he is a sun that never sets or he is tall as the date palm, though we know that moon always sets and there is sunset also and there is no tree on the earth that walks.

Therefore such comparisons imply that for example his face is fresh and luminous like the moon and only the difference is that there is decline for the moon but that person has no decline or his body has the qualities of tall stature of a date palm but his distinction is that he can walk and the date palm cannot walk. Many such kinds of examples are found in literature.

In addition to poetic examples the Qur’an itself has such comparisons and similes. For example when the Holy Qur’an gives the examples of pure and best things it says it is like a tree that bears fruits.[94]

Although there is not tree that bears fruits all the year round or even if there is such a tree would be very rare. Thus the implication is that this tree of goodness has a distinction over all the other trees and it is that there is no autumn for this tree and neither is there any restriction on it for bearing fruits.

The Holy Qur’an also gives the examples of the light of Allah and says: His light is as a niche in which is a lamp…[95]

In the same ayat He says: … the oil whereof almost gives light though fire touches it not.

Though any oil, however pure it may be, does not light up without fire. Actually it is a distinction which is given as a simile.

The ayat regarding which question is posed in that too the growth of the seed of Charity seventy fold is a distinction which the seed of Charity has over all the seeds of the word.


[93] In Tafseer Minhajus Sadiqeen this reply is indicated under the commentary of the above ayat

[94] Surah Ibrahim 15:25

[95] Surah Nur 24:35

Son of Nuh (a.s.) In The Holy Qur’an

Question: Hazrat Nuh (a.s.) was commanded by the Almighty to build an ark and Allah informed him that water would spread all over the surface of the earth and the infidels will drown, but his women and sons will remain safe. One of his sons Canaan, did not care for his teachings our account of his idolatry and did not board the ark. At last he drowned in the flood. During this Hazrat Nuh (a.s.) supplicated his Lord and said: My Lord! Surely my son is of my family, and Thy promise is surely true…[96]

The Almighty Allah addressed him in the following four sentences: What is the aim of those sentences?

1. He is not of your family — why?

2. He is the doer of other than good deeds — why?

3. Ask not of Me that of which you have no knowledge — why?

4. I admonish you lest you may be of the ignorant.[97]

Question: What was Nuh (a.s.) ignorant of?

Answer: The first sentence “He is not of your family” does not denote that he is not your biological son because it was absolutely true that he was the biological son of Nuh (a.s.) and was born from his loins. Rather the implication is that he is not your spiritual son.

Because the son has to be like the father physically as well as spiritually. But the son of Nuh (a.s.) was not so. Because his spiritual relationship with his father had been severed. The second sentence implies that he did not have a good character because his character was so unrighteous that he was evil personified.

And in the third sentence when it is said: Do not ask Me of that which you do not know. It implies that one should derive conclusions from that which one does not know.

Now as for the fourth point: What Nuh (a.s.) was ignorant of?

And the Almighty Allah had informed him of this. It was that he was thinking that the Almighty had promised that He would save his son unconditionally but later he realized that this promise was for those people who had not severed their spiritual relationship with Nuh (a.s.).


[96] Surah Hud 11:45

[97] Surah Hud 11:46


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